THERE are some things that we, in 2019, take for granted.

Freedom of the press, freedom of religion and universal suffrage, to name but a few.

And it is that last right that has been undermined in the last month, by a Government that has little to no interest in enfranchising EU citizens.

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Thousands of people who live and work here, who contribute to our communities and economy, were denied their right to have their say.

‘It’s simple’, they said, ‘non-UK EU citizens need to fill in this extra form and send it back, then they can vote here in the European Election.’

This seemingly simple piece of bureaucracy means that a concerning number of EU citizens were turned away at polling stations on May 23.

The fact that the Government only confirmed that the election was even going ahead on the same day that this UC1 form needed to be returned by, shows how flawed the system was. It was a timebomb waiting to go off.

And then, on polling day, #DeniedMyVote started trending on Twitter.

It was clear something was wrong. Some EU nationals had returned their forms by the deadline, but they had not been processed by local councils quickly enough.

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It’s simply not good enough that this is the system we use: in most other countries in the bloc, a near-automated online form can be used for EU citizens wanting to vote in a country other than their nation of origin. Why can’t we just do that?

I’m a bit baffled, to be honest.

The Electoral Commission recommended that action was taken on this after the last European elections in 2014. The Government said that cost and time were a barrier, which I think says a lot about its attitude to the problem.

Some councils wrote to every EU citizen in their area with the form enclosed, but this decentralised system simply isn’t working.

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It is shocking that so many of our friends, neighbours and colleagues here in Oxfordshire were let down in this way.

Overseas voters were also hit by problems, postal ballots arrived just days before polling day, meaning they couldn’t vote either.

So, I was absolutely delighted that 68 of my colleagues, from six parties and none, signed my letter to the chair of the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Secretary, asking for an immediate inquiry.

Whilst we passionately disagree on a wide range of issues, we all want to stand up for our constituents, neighbours, family members and loved ones who were turned away.

Because, at the end of the day, this is about what our priorities should be.

Electoral integrity must come before party politics.